21 websites where you can buy a car online


Written by:

So you’ve decided to buy a car — but you don’t want to go to a dealership to do it. You’re in luck.

There are now more places than ever to buy a car online, which means you can sit at home in your pj’s examining your options for as long as you want before you even make a move to buy.

Here are 21 sites you can check out right now to buy a car online.

Image Credit: Stokpic / Pexels.com.


SPONSORED: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

1. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes.

2. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals get started now.





1. Autobytel

Although you can’t buy a car directly via Autobytel, this site enables you to search for the exact make and model of a new or used car that you might be looking for. Once you find it, you can read information about the car such as price, mileage, and a slew of other important details you should know before buying a car. Importantly, Autobytel also shows you the VIN (vehicle identification number) so you can get a vehicle history report on the car before even talking to a dealer.

Autobytel also has a “MyGarage” feature that keeps track of cars you’ve been viewing for an easier compare and contrast experience. Once you find the car you want, all you have to do is contact the dealer listed to schedule a viewing.

Image Credit: Autobytel

2. Autolist

Comparing itself to Kayak, Autolist aggregates data on cars for sale from various sources so you can shop across multiple websites in one place. Just select your price range, make and model, and/or any other details you want to filter by and review the results. You can even create search alerts so you can get notified if something you’re looking for becomes available later.

What’s more, the VIN for the car and seller contact details are listed right on the results page.

Image Credit: Autolist

3. Autotempest

Like Autolist, AutoTempest pulls car listings from various websites so you can search easily in one place. The site will also keep track of your recent searches and allow you to save searches, just like Autobytel’s “MyGarage” feature.

If you want to learn the history of any cars you’re interested in, you can click on a link that will direct you to a place to buy the vehicle history report. And if you want to buy, you can send a message to the dealer straight from the car’s listing page.

Image Credit: Autotempest

4. Autotrader

A well-known name in the car industry, AutoTrader allows you to engage in a new or used car search among dealerships and private sellers either local to you or throughout the country.

Once you start looking at listings, you’ll see that the site shows Kelley Blue Book values to help you find out if the price is right. There’s also a link on the listing pages to help you purchase a vehicle history report, and you can apply for financing and estimate payments (or you can go ahead and contact the dealer from the listing if you prefer that).

Image Credit: Autotrader

5. Bring a Trailer

If classic cars are more your speed, then you might want to check out Bring a Trailer. This online car auction site features vintage cars only. Although you may not be able to find the exact make and model you’re looking for the first time, you can keep an eye on the site until you find your heart’s desire. The downside is that you’ll have to place a bid if you find a car you want, rather than being able to give it a test-drive first.

Image Credit: Bring a Trailer

6. CarGurus

CarGurus is a car search website that ranks listings by the market value of the car and the reputation of the dealer, rather than by ads dealers can pay for to rank more highly.

Like many other of the sites mentioned, you can save your search, search by dealer or private seller, and check the VIN if the seller has provided it. What makes this site different from many others, however, is that it’ll let you know if the price being asked for is over, at, or below the market value of the car — so you can understand instantly if the car is a good or bad deal.

Image Credit: CarGurus

7. Carjojo

Carjojo enables you to shop for a car online and its team will also help you negotiate a deal.The site even has an algorithm to predict how low you can go and still get a dealer to accept your offer.

And if you can’t get the lowest price the site says you should be able to pay, Carjojo says they will cover the difference. Currently, you can only search for new vehicles on the site, not used.

Image Credit: Carjojo

8. Carmax

Carmax doesn’t just help you shop for a car online — the site can also help you secure financing for the car you want. What’s more, if you buy a car that you realize isn’t going to work out for you, Carmax will give you five days to bring it back for a full refund.

Besides detailed information about a car’s features and history, you can also read customer reviews and ratings on the car of your choice. And you can even place a hold on a car and transfer a car to a closer location.

Image Credit: Carmax

9. Cars.com

Another long-established name in the industry, Cars.com enables you to search for new and used cars by make or body style. You can also review a price comparison and download the app for price change notifications, to see a saved search, and even scan the VIN on a car you’re interested in.

On the listing itself, you can read reviews, see payment estimates, and contact the seller.

Image Credit: Cars.com

10. CarsDirect

CarsDirect shows you new and used cars and it allows you to build the model you’re looking for so you can find the exact version of your dream car. The site also helps you compare the options you’re reviewing to similar options to see what might be better for you. On the listing itself, you can review incentives different dealers are offering for the sale or lease of that car.

Once you find the car you want to buy, CarsDirect connects you to the dealership selling it and gives you a “target price” to negotiate with. Finally, you can save your searches if you want to review multiple options before you decide to buy.

Image Credit: Carsdirect

11. Carvana

Part of the problem of many online shopping experiences is the difficulty in getting to the car you want for a test drive. With Carvana, though, you can get the car you buy delivered to your door — and you have seven days to drive it around and try it out. If you don’t like it and return with those seven days, you’ll get a money-back guarantee.

Like Carmax, Caravana also helps you secure financing for your purchase. You can also click right from the listing to Carfax to review the car’s vehicle history report, and there’s an option on the listing to see what your current car could provide as trade-in value.

Image Credit: Carvana

12. Craigslist

There’s a good chance you already know how Craigslist works, and it’s not much different for cars. Just start with your location, look for cars under the “for sale” section, and select the option of “all cars & trucks,” “by-owner only,” or “by-dealer only.”

Then just keep looking until you find the car you want and contact the seller if you want to arrange a viewing. You won’t get any help with financing, and you might have to ask the owner directly for the VIN. But what you will get is a direct line between you and the seller of the car. Just be sure to follow these steps before buying a car on Craigslist.

Image Credit: Craigslist

13. eBay

When searching for a car on eBay, you can search by category or start with the make and model you’re looking for. If you search for a certain make and model, you can choose between searching on eBay or separately in a partnership with TrueCar. From there, you can build a profile of the car you’re looking for or review the prices on local inventory.


If you choose to search only within eBay, however, you would bid on whatever car you’re interested in. Before you do, you can review information such as the VIN and even the full history report if provided, as well as what features the vehicle comes with.

Image Credit: eBay

14. Edmunds

Known as a place to go to read reviews and ratings on different vehicles, Edmunds can also help you find that new or used car you’ve been looking for. Listings will show you features of the car as well as the VIN, and Edmunds will even rate whether the price is a good or bad deal. You can also use the site’s’ calculator to see how much you might pay on car loans from three to seven years.

And if you find a car you’d like to buy, you can connect with the dealer via the listing to get the ball rolling and see if you’re eligible for extra perks from Edmunds.

Image Credit: Edmunds

15. Hemmings

Another site for classic car lovers, Hemmings focuses entirely on used cars for the serious car collector. Just peruse the site or search directly for the car on your mind. And if you find one you like, you can contact the seller via the listing on Hemmings.

Image Credit: Hemmings

16. Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book isn’t just a place you go to see how much a car is worth — you can also search for a car on the site as well. And since Kelley Blue Book is the name for researching a car’s value, the listings also show you consumer and expert ratings and reviews along with other details to help you evaluate the car, such as the VIN and the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) safety rating.

If you find a car you like, you can contact the dealer via the listing, but you can also review the dealer’s ratings on the same page before you do.

Image Credit: Kelley Blue Book

17. NADA Guides

Another well-known source for searching a car’s value is National Appraisal Guides, Inc., or NADAGuides, which can help you search for new and used car listings with the help of Autotrader.

On NADAGuides’ listings you can see details on the car as well as what others paid for similar models, and you can see incentives being offered by various dealers and estimated monthly payments. The site also helps you get an insurance quote from Geico and lending rates from LendingTree.

Image Credit: NADA Guides

18. NowCar

According to NowCar, you can “search, build, and buy” your next car on its site — and get free delivery of the vehicle when you’re finished. The site enables you to start a search in one of two ways: You can either start searching by the features you want your next car to have, or you can search by make and model and customize from there.

If you search by feature, you can even set the search by the monthly payment you want to stay within or by the total cost of the car. Either way, when you find a car, you’ll see options for leasing, financing, or cash, including any rebates available. Vehicles available for delivery to your location can come in as little as three to five days.

Image Credit: NowCar

19. TrueCar

With TrueCar, you can search for new and used vehicles while also getting a trade-in offer for your car by simply entering your state and license plate number or VIN. Once you look at listings, you can see pricing from dealers as well as what others have paid for the same type of car.

And if you’re searching new, the listing will come with a free Carfax vehicle history report. The site also enables you to estimate monthly payments. If you’re ready to buy, you must then get your TruePrice offer by registering for the site and then following the steps from there. On new cars, you’ll also have to register your email to see pricing on inventory local to you.

Image Credit: TrueCar

20. Vroom

Vroom sells its cars direct, which for them entails the ability to buy from them (or trade-in), secure financing, and get the car delivered to your door. And if your choice is a used car, Vroom shows you the vehicle history report for free.

For those who need a little time, there is an option to put a car on hold with a refundable deposit. The site also helps you estimate payments and either buy in cash or finance with Vroom or your bank.

Image Credit: Vroom

21. Your local dealership website

You no longer have to go to a special website to buy a car unless you want to. That’s because many dealerships have made it possible to search their inventory online. What’s more, many also include reviews of the dealership’s sales and service departments, helping you to know what you’re getting into more easily if you choose to deal with them.

Image Credit: Pexels.com

22. Ready to buy a car?

Now that you know all the many places to go to buy a car online, you’ll want to make sure you end up with a good deal when you buy. Reading the ultimate online car buying checklist can help.

Image Credit: Pexels.com